Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re pretty spoiled when it comes to amazing scenery. With mountains, waterfalls, dramatic coastlines, lush pines, and even some rainforests, there’s tons to explore! If you want engagement photos that are a little outside the box – unforgettable experiences instead of stiff poses, and epic backdrops instead of traditional shots – this guide has 10 incredible PNW engagement photo locations to consider!
The best part (well, second best part – after the scenic views), is that these locations are easily accessible, with little to no hiking required. I’ve included a few ADA accessible spots too, and you absolutely don’t need to summit a huge mountain or trek for hours to have an incredible adventure.
The Best Time for PNW Engagement Photos
The Pacific Northwest of the US is generally considered to be Washington, Oregon, and a little bit of Northern California – though there aren’t any hard borders, and some folks include Idaho in this as well. For this guide, we’ll focus on engagement photo locations in Washington and Oregon – but along with being known for its incredible beauty, the PNW is also notorious for rain and moody weather! So before you plan your engagement session, here’s what you need to know.
Summer is the most popular time to explore outdoors in the PNW, especially July and August. This is when we get a break from the rain, and the sun is out most days – making for warm days that are perfect for hikes and outdoor adventures! If you want to take your engagement photos in the mountains (and don’t want to be in the snow), this is definitely the best time for you to schedule an engagement session.
In lower elevations and regions close to the coast, spring and fall can be a great time for engagement photos, because there will be fewer people out and about than there are in the summer! It is pretty rainy, so late spring and early fall are your best bet for good weather. But, don’t worry – even if it rains, your photos will be amazing, and it can be fun to run around in the drizzle!
Winter is best for couples who want to take engagement photos in the snow, and you can head to the mountains to experience a winter wonderland. Coastal regions and some areas close to Seattle don’t get much snow, but there is a lot of rain! But, bring a cute umbrella and a rain jacket, and you’re likely to have the place all to yourself.
The Best PNW Engagement Photo Locations
Now, let’s get into it – here are 10 unique spots to consider for your PNW engagement photos.
Artist Point, Washington
Artist Point is truly one of the most scenic spots in the PNW, and the effort-to-reward ratio is pretty unbeatable! After a drive along a windy mountain road, you’ll arrive at the parking lot and immediately see the peaks that surround this area. The views are breathtaking, and you can walk a short trail to more secluded views, and there are also some harder hikes that begin at this parking lot if you want to explore some more afterwards. Picture Lake is right here too, which has great views of the mountains, and an ADA accessible, paved trail around the little pond.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon
The name might be a mouthful, but this spot on the southern coast of Oregon is one of the best PNW engagement photo locations! There are several options for roadside overlooks, and short trails that lead to incredibly scenic views of the rugged coastline.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
You truly can’t find a better place for engagement photos if you want to chase some waterfalls (forget what TLC said) – the Columbia River Gorge has the highest concentration of falls in the entire country! There are plenty of roadside waterfalls and ones that are accessible with a short walk, like Latourell and Wahkeena Falls – and there are also a few lesser known ones to explore.
Hurricane Ridge, Washington
One of the best places for mountain views is Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Right from the parking lot, there are sweeping views of the snow-capped peaks. You can get away from the crowds by going to the easily accessible picnic areas, or hike one of the trails that begin here. There are a few short, paved trails, and some ADA accessible locations!
Hoh Rainforest, Washington
If you love the magical feeling of forest views, Washington’s temperate rainforest is one of the best PNW engagement photo locations! You’ll be surrounded by lush ferns, moss, and greenery. There are a few short trails you can choose from, but the Hall of Mosses is the most popular one. It’s an easy nature walk with stunning views!
Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
For another gorgeous waterfall, check out Snoqualmie Falls in Washington! It’s a great PNW engagement session location that’s close to Seattle, and there is an ADA accessible spot to see it from above, or a short (but kind of steep) walk down to the base of the falls.
Deception Pass, Washington
If you want to take your engagement photos on the beach, you don’t have to go all the way to the western coast! Deception Pass State Park is a gorgeous spot near Bellingham, Washington, with several short trails and beaches. Rosario Beach is one of the best spots in the park, with stunning cliffs over the water and rocky shorelines!
Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
The Oregon Coast offers countless jaw dropping engagement photo locations, and one of the best spots is Cape Kiwanda. This beach is a little less popular and crowded than the famous Cannon Beach, but it has amazing views of a sea stack in the ocean and dramatic cliffs over the water.
Tipsoo Lake, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park has some of the best views in the PNW, and if you want an easily accessible spot with wildflowers and mountain peaks, check out Tipsoo Lake! There’s a short, easy trail that goes around the lake, and in the summer, you can see the gorgeous wildflower blooms.
For those of you who feel more comfortable in the city rather than nature, the major cities provide excellent locations for photos. If you want a good view of the city, we can go to a nearby park or even drive up to the top of a parking garage. We can dodge the fish being thrown in Pike’s Place Market and find ourselves down by the great wheel. I can even follow along on a date and take pictures as you drink a cup of coffee or sip a glass of wine. The options are endless and together, we will plan a day that is authentic to who you are as a couple.
Finding a PNW Engagement Photographer
My job as a photographer is to help you find the perfect spot for your photos – I’ll get to know you and what you’re looking for (waterfalls, beaches, lakes, forests…) and give you all my recommendations for off the beaten path, unique PNW engagement photo locations that will make the perfect backdrop for you!
If you’re ready to start planning your adventurous engagement session, get in touch!